Newsletter for U.S. Bishops Sponsored
by the NCCB Subcommittee on Lay Ministry
|This newsletter is developed by the NCCB Subcommittee on Lay Ministry. The purpose of this newsletter is to highlight lay ministry trends, resources, models, and other key information that may be helpful to the U.S. Bishops. Please forward suggestions and comments to:
NCCB Secretariat for Family, Laity, Women, and Youth
3211 4th Street, NE
Washington, DC 20017-1194
Subcommittee Begins Work, Names Advisors
The 2002-2005 Subcommittee on Lay Ministry met for the first time on March 13. The members and consultors endorsed the work of the previous subcommittee and approved, pending approval by the full body of bishops at their June meeting, a process and timeline for developing the proposed bishops' foundational document offering theological, pastoral reflection and guidance for the preparation of lay ecclesial ministers.
During their discussions subcommittee members also identified possible neuralgic issues and developed an outline for the proposed document.
The Subcommittee also named three advisors: Dr. Zeni Fox and Monsignor Philip Murnion, both of who have served as advisors since the subcommittee began in 1995, and Father Daniel McLellan, OFM, President of the Washington Theological Union, who has participated in subcommittee meetings and consultations.
Ongoing Formation Program for Experienced Lay Ecclesial Ministers Initiated by MN Benedictine Center
In June, The Benedictine Center in St. Paul, MN, will host the first group of participants in a new initiative for experienced lay ecclesial ministers. The project, entitled iLLUMINARE: Called for Service, Formed in Christ, is directed by Jacquelyne Witter, Ed.D., and supported by the Lilly Endowment.
The core component of the program, which serves lay ecclesial ministers in the five-state Upper Midwest region (MN,WI,ND,SD,IA), is a two-year renewal program of eight sessions integrating prayer, spiritual direction, theological reflection, study and camaraderie. One of the eight sessions will include each lay minister's pastor; another will include participants' staff colleagues. The focus of the program is to offer a process of sustained ongoing formation for lay ecclesial ministers. Twelve groups of ministers from throughout the region will be served over the five-year period of the grant.
Further information: firstname.lastname@example.org
2003 CARA Directory Reports Steady Numbers for Lay Ministry
The CARA 2003 Catholic Ministry Formation Directory, which includes enrollment and program information for Catholic Seminaries, Diaconate Formation Programs, and Lay Ministry Formation Programs, reports that over 35,000 students were enrolled in Lay Ministry Formation programs in 2002-2003. While that number is significantly higher than the 10,500 students who were enrolled in 1985-1986, it is consistent with the numbers for the last three years. The number includes students in a variety of programs, all of them at least two-years in duration, some of which offer certificates, others of which offer academic graduate degrees.
CARA is currently in dialogue with the Association of Graduate Programs in Ministry (AGPIM) as part of an effort to refine the report, particularly in regard to 1) distinguishing between academic, diocesan, CPE, and other/independent programs in the way statistics are complied and reported, and 2) making a clearer distinction between degree and certificate programs.
For the 2003 Directory, CARA asked about the placement of graduates. Many programs do not track their graduates and have no information about how many went on to lay ecclesial ministry positions. Of the total number of 8,119 graduates reported, information was available for 2,086. Of those, 58% were identified as in volunteer lay ecclesial ministry positions and 42% in compensated positions. Among those in compensated positions, 66% (660) were full-time and the others (224) were part-time
Further information: email@example.com
Christopher Anderson Named New Executive Director of NALM
The Board of Directors of the National Association for Lay Ministry has named Christopher Anderson to be the Executive Director of the Association. Currently the Associate Director of the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership, Mr. Anderson brings experience in association management and in lay ecclesial ministry as a religious educator at both the parish and diocesan levels.
Registrations are still being accepted for the NALM meetings in Tampa: Ministry Formation Directors Institute (May 27-29), Roundtable for Pastoral Associates and Parish Life Coordinators (May 29), and the 27th Annual Conference, Lay leadership: Weaving Justice and Peace through Ministry (May 29 – June 1).
Further information: 773-241-6050
From Our Tradition . . .
Priests and Laity Must Together Work Out New Patterns of ‘Collaborative Ministry'
Priests and laity must together work out new patterns of ‘collaborative ministry' in the Church. It is not simply a matter of some women demanding some rights from some unwilling priests: there is need for mutual assistance in discovering new ways of working together, getting beyond the first hurdle of true dialogue to the proper collaborative exercise of baptismal rights and duties. … It is no easy task for the priest who finds himself required to serve two parishes to determine the best use of his time. The new mode of being parish priest forces him and his parishioners – if nothing else has done – to consider how together to foster the communion of the parish and to direct its mission. First steps will be halting and probably superficial, but all members of the local Church are in it together.
Crucially the priest has to learn what he must let go and how; he will do that much more easily at the end of a conversation – and perhaps experiment – in which those who may take on new responsibilities play their full part.
Priests are sometimes uncertain what they may, under Canon Law and Charity Law, let go, and there may not always be crisp answers. A readiness to explore would be a creative stance from which to address such questions.
Some principles may be enunciated. For instance, one may note the distinction between ‘decision-making' and ‘decision-taking.' It may lie upon the priest by law to take certain decisions, but the process leading him toward taking them (the process of decision making) is certainly one that can be shared.
Similarly, we may note that the delegation of ‘authority' does not mean delegation of ‘responsibility.' If it is inescapably the priest's responsibility to see that some service is provided, he may well delegate to a helper the authority to take certain steps toward it. He does not thereby exonerate himself from the responsibility that the law – or the bishop or whoever – lays upon him (nor ultimately does he burden the agent with such responsibility). It may be by such tiny steps that together priests and people come to forge new patterns of working together, to the enrichment of themselves as well as of their tasks.
Bishop Vincent Malone, Auxiliary Bishop of Liverpool, "Women after Dialogue," Priests & People, February, 2003, 49-53
From Our Jewish & Christian Neighbors. . .
Alabama Laywoman to Address 2004 United Methodist General Conference
Gloria Holt, president of the United Methodist Association of Annual Conference Lay Leaders, has been chosen to deliver the Laity Address at the May 2004 General Conference in Pittsburgh. Her talk about the state of the laity will be the seventh such address, continuing a practice which began in 1980. She was chosen after a competition in which the association invited annual conference lay leaders from around the world, rather than laity at large, to submit written manuscripts, which were then judged on their own merit and without the names of authors attached.
Ms. Holt is both the North Alabama Conference Lay Leader and president of the Southeast Jurisdictional Association of Annual Conference Lay Leaders. Each conference lay leader is elected to promote lay ministry and develop lay leadership in partnership with the bishop and clergy. The church has 64 annual conferences in the United States and 53 in Europe, Africa and the Phillipines.
Affiliated with the United Methodist Board of Discipleship, the association seeks to strengthen the presence, voice and role of the laity in the church and in the world. The group's primary goal is to assist annual conference lay leaders in training, supporting and advocating for district and local church lay leaders.
United Methodist News Service, March 25, 2003
From Around the World. . .
Dutch/German Canonist Addresses Complementarity in Ministry
In an October 2002 address to the Canon Law Society of America, Dr. Myriam Wijlens, a faculty member at the University of Tilburg and the Canon Law Institute in Münster, outlined the issues that "a deeper study on professional laity" should address:
- The different ecclesiological models for understanding ministry in the Church.
- The Vatican II understanding that ministry is located within the community. "The laity and the ordained have complementary gifts; they do not stand in opposition."
- "The ministry exercised in the world is also an ecclesial ministry because the Church does not stand in opposition to the world, but lives in the world."
- "The gifts that ecclesial lay ministers bring to the Church are to be seen neither as a supplying for nor as standing in competition with the gifts that the ordained ministers bring, but they are to be considered and examined on their own merits."
"Ecclesial Lay Ministry, Clergy and Complementarity," Proceedings of the Sixty-Fourth Annual Convention, 27-48.